: The Love of My Life :

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an excerpt by Valerie Leff

Who’s the tush?” my father says in what he considers a whisper. I’ve heard it, my mother’s heard it, my husband, Craig, has heard it, and God knows who else. My father is into his second Scotch on the rocks, tired from the flight in from L.A. and the hundred-and-ten degree heat of June in Arizona, but he’s said exactly what everyone is thinking. We are grouped on Nancy and Henry Orenstein’s white leather couches–well, I guess they’re just Nancy’s couches now–and we’re staring at the dorsal side of a slim woman in tan, fitted slacks, lime green suede sling-backs, and a white linen blouse that doesn’t look like she could possibly have ridden in a car, never mind flown across the country. Her dark blond hair is glossy, well conditioned. It flips up just right as the ends touch her shoulders.

That’s Bailey,” my mother hisses. My father gives a puzzled shrug we all know means, Who on Earth is Bailey? “Bailey Wilder,” my mother says, more mouthing the words than speaking. “Henry’s first wife.”